By Toon Vos
What I would give to live in Pip Blom’s music video ‘You Don’t Want This’ for just one afternoon. Starring pastel-coloured rooms, their walls, tables and teapots all in the same hue, the Dutch band inhabits a parallel universe for a mere 3:32 minutes where things are simpler.
Four band members deliver uncomplicated sounds that come together in a friendly groove and catchy chorus. Pip Blom’s tunes would work as well as the intro song to a Friends-esque sitcom as they would be danceable in bars, where things are finally picking up. Their instruments sound like they are right there, not overproduced and pleasantly real. Inspired by different kinds of indie pop, Brit-pop, and having a good ear for what makes a song fun, it is unsurprising that the band managed to attract an enthusiastic following, both at home and abroad.
In the music video of ‘Keep It Together’, the band stars in a TV studio reminiscent of an eighties aerobics show. I never once thought aerobics would appeal to me, but the music video is wholesome and humorous. The smiling faces, bright colours, and cheery indie-pop sound contrast starkly with lyrics circling around anxiety and the pressure of “keeping it together.”
This is not to say that the band always sounds this friendly. The guitarists’ and bassist’s feet have no trouble finding more gritty effect pedals for the right occasion. Their drummer plays with an energy that makes her kit sound louder to up the ante whenever needed, like in ‘I Know I’m Not Easy To Like’.
The band is named after their singer-guitarist Pip Blom, who started writing songs at 16. Later, she decided to join forces with her brother Tender Blom (backing vocals and guitar; has a name that would work equally well as a band name), Darek Mercks (bass) and Gini Cameron (drums). Their first album Boat came out in 2019, followed by Welcome Break in 2021. In the meantime, the band has supported Franz Ferdinand and opened Glastonbury, which was “a dream come true.”
A big fan of Micachu and the Shapes, Pip (the person) recounts how an online reply to a song she wrote with Willem Smit from Canshaker Pi resulted in her finding out about the experimental collective. In a 2019 interview with Vera On Track, she calls their 2009 album Jewellery the best record she knows. Another special mention during the interview goes to Kim Deal, a former member of The Pixies, later forming The Breeders for whom Pip Blom opened during their 2018 tour. Pip grew up listening to the Pixies with her parents, joining the short list of people who have gone on tour with their musical heroes.
“It’s both important and lots of fun to play in cities we usually don’t get to go to,” says Pip in an interview with When The Horn Blows in 2019. “We usually go to the same places where they’ve got an established music scene. You want to switch things up and get to see different crowds and venues.”
Yet the possibility for playing new venues in front of new crowds was to be severely uprooted the next year due to COVID. Like many artists, the band took the opportunity to work on new material resulting in the aforementioned Welcome Break a month behind schedule. Logistical issues had resulted in a delay of the vinyl production.
Reviews are convincing. Dutch newspaper Volkskrant, referring to the album title, said: “If it was the forced break that helped determine the quality of this album, then he was indeed welcome.” Uncut recommends listeners to, “Play loud, listen carefully,” which I’d like to second.
At the time of writing in November 2021, the band is enthusiastically gigging throughout the UK, visiting a dozen or so cities and venues. Their home country of the Netherlands is awaiting their return in February 2022 if circumstances allow it.
In the meantime, I will watch a Pip Blom music video to feel nostalgic for a different era, even if I cannot pinpoint what era this is.
This article was published with the support of Liveurope.